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THE CEMETERY CLUB O'Connell & Company/Park School
By
May 3, 2017, 20:29
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Through May 21
THE CEMETERY CLUB O’Connell & Company/Park School

This may be spring, with life returning to the trees, the lawns and the flocks of birds.
But, on stage this spring season is that of death and dying, like O’Connell & Company’s well done “The Cemetery Club” about three widows.
One widow has clearly moved on: Just listen to her.
Another may never move on.
The third is torn between continuing as a widow and moving on.
Ida (Anne Gayley), Lucille (Constance Caldwell) and Doris (Joy Scime) are long-time friends and fairly short-term widows.
Every month they head out to a Jewish cemetery near their Forest Hills homes, in the Outer Borough of Queens, leaving behind the ritual stones on top of the gravestone.
Set designer John Kehoe stages the show in Ida’s apartment, a nice pleasant arrangement, suitable for a late middle-aged widow, with the graves on a level above.
Director Sheila McCarthy has a strong set of central characters although Robert Schwartz’ Sam the butcher is a little behind.
That may reflect playwright Ivan Menchell’s focus on the widows.
They meet for lunch in Ida’s place before heading out to the cemetery, thinking of themselves as members of “The Cemetery Club.”
All of this is very reminiscent of Neal Radice’s “I’m Fine” about a widower having some of those same issues: What now?
They married and stayed married for a long time and now, things have changed.
Whether just stay as a widow mourning Murray, Harry or Abe or move on for another phase of life is the heart of the play.
They aren’t young but they aren’t dead.
“The Cemetery Club” is often funny, often demanding and often poignant and always interesting.
There might have been laughs in the audience at some lines but there were sometimes nervous laughs at a funny twist on dramatic events.
This is definitely the style of show which leaves you walking out of the theater and asking: What would you do?
That’s why “The Cemetery Club” is worth seeing, not just because of strong performances from Gayley, Caldwell and Scime but because these are real issues for real people, possibly someone related to you or someone you know.

A.W.

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